Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saving Money on Cable/Internet!

We currently pay way too much for cable. I am embarrassed to even say how much ($180 per month without any movie channels). It was probably a good deal when we started with AT&T, but it is so not a good deal now! We have seven TVs hooked up with boxes each and one DVR. So I have been researching on how to save money. About a month ago we bought our first Roku box (Roku 2 XD version). It is this little gadget you attach to your television that will connect to your internet and transmit shows from online to your television. You will need a wireless server to do this, which we already had. It is an easy method of getting Netflix and Hulu Plus. These two actually provide all the content our family currently enjoys on television for about $7.95 each per month. Roku also has an awesome software called Pandora which turns your television into a radio with all your favorite artists. There is other content that I have not had a chance to explore but looks promising. We love Roku. The basic box is currently selling online for $49 at its website, but I would suggest the Roku 2 XD which is $79 (we purchased on sale for $65). You will need a Roku box for each television unless you want to move it around. You can connect each television/Roku box to your single Netflix/Hulu accounts and even watch different shows simultaneously on different TVs on the same account. We know this because we tested it ourselves. While the startup cost is potentially pricey, the amount saved by not paying for high priced cable would pay for it in just a few months.

So we definitely needed internet and would like to have local TV which you can not get with a Roku box. You can get local television with a really good HD antenna which you can purchase on Amazon. Just for an experiment, I went to Big Lots and bought one of their cheapy antennas (around $5) and tried it on my television. It picked up four channels clear as a bell. Apparently television is now transmitted in HD and if you can pick up the station from a tower close enough or an antenna strong enough, it comes in clearer than cable since it is not compressed. However, we would prefer to get the basic cable package thrown in with the internet since we have to purchase that anyway. We expected this to cost anywhere between $40 to $60.

So I called Comcast. I have the worst luck talking to vendors on the phone. They must hear my voice and just know that they can gouge me. My husband is fantastic at talking to them but even he could not get them to give us a good deal on the phone. He said the only way to get them to cut their price was to either chat online with them or go talk to them in person. By the way, they wanted $79 for basic basic cable and internet.

My husband went to see them. They have a desk at our local Best Buy (Cool Springs if you are local). He got a great deal! For $59 per month we got all the channels and HBO and Stars Movie channel for a year. We also got a DVR and it includes all the cable boxes for our TVs at no additional charge. We'll have to renegotiate after a year but still worth it.

So now we will have cable/internet for $59 per month and subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu Plus for $16 per month (can cancel any time). Thus, for $75 per month we have saved over $100 per month and now have many more options on our television. To do this, you will need a Roku box, a Motorola SB6121 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem and a NETGEAR N600 Wireless-N Dual Band Router WNDR3400 (our current router was old and the new ones are faster). Buy it on Amazon as it is cheaper with free shipping and no tax. I know this because my husband spoke with the guy at the store who pointed out the necessary products while my husband told me over the phone and I looked them up at Amazon.

While this deal is only good for a year and we will have to rearrange it in twelve months, by then the kids will be used to a Roku box (which they already love) and not be too upset to lose cable all together if necessary. Here's another cool thing. You can download an app on your phone for Netflix and connect to your account. So when you are out with the kids and want them to behave, just turn on Phineas and Ferb. There are over 80 episodes to chose from. Now that's a deal!


Frances said...

We totally ditched cable a couple of weeks ago. We have had one Roku for about a year for streaming Netflix. We bought a couple of antennas and another Roku, signed up for Hulu Plus, and are doing just fine without cable.

JP said...

Why not just Netflix on large laptop? No roku box needed.

Dr. Mom said...

I would do Netflix on a computer if it were just myself and my husband, but with kids, it makes it a little harder. They already fight over the computer. Making it the sole source of television would make it a nightmare!

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